by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 17, 2019
Executives at top-performing financial firms are 52 percent more likely than their counterparts at average-performing firms to regard reward and recognition programs as a competitive advantage, according to a new study by the Incentive Research Foundation.The study, What Top Performing Financial Services Firms Do Differently for Incentives and Rewards, classified top-performing firms as those that demonstrated more than a 5 percent increase in revenue or stock price in 2018, year-over-year, and strong customer- and employee-satisfaction rates based on information obtained from sources including the Fortune 500 and Best Places to Work lists.

The study identifies the non-cash rewards strategies and tactics used by top-performing financial-services firms. The study also provides benchmarks and best practices to help financial-services firms design effective reward programs.
 
Among other key findings that demonstrate how top-performing financial-services firms employ rewards more than average-performers:
•    Top-performing financial-services firms are 29 percent more likely to structure their programs to reach each participant versus only recognizing the top-performing participants.
•    They spend $7,500 per person for channel/dealer-partner incentive trips vs. $5,000 spent by average-performing firms.
•    Sales-incentive programs at top-performing financial-services firms were 44 percent more likely than those at average-performing firms to award a variable versus fixed number of incentive-trip winners.
•    Program owners at top-performing financial-services firms estimated that 35 percent of employees would earn non-cash rewards per year, while their counterparts predicted 28 percent would qualify.